Non-Linear Pedagogy

Non linear pedagogy is a paradigm for understanding human movement and for designing teaching approaches that could teach sport skills in a more effective way (Chow et al., 2015). It considers three principles; Variability in practice, Representative Learning Designs and Simplifying tasks.

Variability is where the practice is changed in order to differ the same skills. For example coaching a ‘throwing and catching drill’ can become boring, but by adding different size of balls it would require the participants to think about the suitable way in which to throw and catch that particular object. Some people will easily catch a tennis ball in one hand but some people may need to use both, neither are incorrect, as they have caught the ball. Motor skills are massively impacted by movement variability, which allows the performer to gain more experience in a skill (Schmidt, 1975).

Representative learning designs happens when the coach guides the participants to play and learn, whilst partaking in realistic game scenarios. For example in a football drill, rather than asking the athletes to dribble in and out of cones, you could ask them to take on another participant, which makes them think in more detail, as the constraint is able to move. This can then be placed into game scenarios, which each athlete will have a different approach to overcoming a task, as well as improving motor skills (Renshaw et al., 2007).

Simplifying tasks is important as it allows the learner to focus more on getting the overall understanding of a skill, rather than mastering it straight away (Chow, 2010). Pedagogy allows more space for collaboration on how to complete tasks and that there are a number of different ways in which to do so. As a coach a way in which you could do this is by showing the task in a vague way, so you are not telling them it has to be done in a certain way. This aspect of pedagogy focuses on asking the participant questions, in order for them to think about how to complete the skill or task in hand (Renshaw et al., 2010). As stated before, the coach should encourage the participants to learn together and try out different peoples suggestions, rather than just sticking to one. For example, in rounders, when batting you could hit the ball in three ways; an underarm action, side on or aim to hit the ball to the ground.

As a coach it is vital that pedagoy is included when planning and delivering sessions. It ensures that there is a framework for players, and where the learner need to be in real game scenarios (Chow, 2010). Another key factor to NP is that it challenges different behaviours and movements from participants, through constraints, which can decipher task and ego lead individuals (Chow, 2013). However, some negatives to this practice are that it may not allow all three aspects to be at its optimum. For example, if the focus of a session is variability, then that is going to massively hinder the simplicity of that task. Despite this, non-linear pedagogy is a more than effective way to develop an athlete and it makes sure they are kept interested and engaged in tasks (Chow, 2015). For my work in analysis, pedagogy can be used in a similar sense to a coach, for example when providing a framework for the players to use when watching their footage back. It can also decipher the task or ego lead players from the team and challenge them to pick out areas of weakness or strengths in their performances.

Reference List

Chow, J.Y., 2010. Insights from an emerging theoretical perspective in motor learning for physical education. In Sport science and studies in Asia: Issues, reflections and emergent solutions (pp. 59-77).

Chow, J.Y., 2013. Nonlinear learning underpinning pedagogy: evidence, challenges, and implications. Quest65(4), pp.469-484.

Chow, J.Y., Davids, K., Button, C. and Renshaw, I., 2015. Nonlinear pedagogy in skill acquisition: An introduction. Routledge.

Renshaw, I., Chow, J. Y., Davids, K., & Hammond, J. (2010). A constraints-led perspective to under-standing skill acquisition and game play: A basis for integration of motor learning theory and physical education praxis? Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 1–21

Schmidt, R.A., 1975. A schema theory of discrete motor skill learning. Psychological review82(4), p.225.

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